Married With Children (1987 – 1997 USA)

mwc-1The World According to Al Bundy:” You think I’m a loser? Because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn’t respect me, and a whole city that curses the day I was born? Well, that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you something. Every day when I wake up in the morning, I know it’s not going to get any better until I go back to sleep. So I get up. I have my watered-down Tang and my still-frozen Pop Tart. I get in my car with no gas, no upholstery, and six more payments. I fight honking traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes onto the cloven hooves of people like you. I’ll never play football like I wanted to. I’ll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I’ll never know the joy of driving through the city without a bag over my head! But I’m not a loser. Because, despite it all, me and every other guy who’ll never be what they wanted to be, is out there, being what we don’t want to be, forty hours a week, for life. And the fact that I haven’t put a gun in my mouth — you pudding of a woman — that’s what makes me a winner baby!” Perhaps the greatest speech in TV history.

Sitcoms are usually made with females in mind. But Married with Children(MWC) was one of the rare sitcoms guys love because of the relateablity of the characters, the adult toilet humour, and the great cast acting. There was someone for everyone to latch on to, Al was the loser husband, Peg was his lazy shop-aholic wife with no job, only wanting sex from Al. Bud is a dateless virgin loser who had a rubber woman while Kelly was the nympho airhead sister who slept with anything. His neighbours hated Al and his family. Al did not care. He’s a man’s man. The viewer loved Al because most of us can relate to him in some way, shape, or form.

mwcEd O’Neill embodied the character so brilliantly that I’m afraid that this may have typecast him for all eternity as he could never escape this singular comic gem of a character. But even Al’s arrogant neighbours do admit Al flips a mean & tasty burger. Marcy may be snooty when she trades barbs with Al, but her choice of a second mate far exceeds any blunder a Bundy is capable of – Marcy Rhodes becomes Marcy Darcy after a three day drunken stupor. And for all of Peg Bundy’s merry indolence, Jefferson Darcy, Marcy’s new beloved is just a cheap fraud with a long record of flim-flam, who’s now won a life of ease at Marcy’s expense.

After a shaky hit and miss first two seasons, the third and fourth seasons were pure gold and the show really defined itself during this era. The sexual humour was raunchier, the jokes were cruder, the characters were livelier, the audience was rowdier, the show was devoid of any moral values… and viewers around the globe loved it. The show was at the height of its popularity during this era. A controversial episode featuring a sex shop that was boycotted by watchdog groups aided in its popularity.

The sixth season had the dreadfully dull and boring three-part England episodes, which drags on for far too long. Peggy’s pregnancy-turned-dream also took up too much time. Season 7 is a rather good season if you can get past the universally loathed Seven character, which was by far the worst and most pointless gimmick character the show ever introduced, and also proved that a third child was unnecessary. The series finally reached its zenith with the The No M’aam Years” (Seasons 8, 9, 10, and 11). These later seasons are my favourites.

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Comments

  1. Excellent review, I couldn’t agree more! 😀 Especially about the first paragraph being the greatest speech in television history…that was truly Al Bundy at his finest!

    Ed O’Neill will always be Al to me…his father character in Modern Family is only a sad reminder of what we once had. :/

    Liked by 1 person

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